Monday, April 21, 2014

Meb Strong

Congratulations, Meb!


I was fortunate enough to be able to stream the last few minutes of the men's race because it fell during my lunch. I could hardly believe my eyes when the Boston Marathon Twitter feed kept telling me Meb was holding on to the lead. I had wanted to believe so badly when Shalane was leading earlier, that I tried to tell myself not to get reeled in. (But a giant congrats to her as well on the PR! I'm definitely not trying to downplay what she did do.)

No one around me at work had a real appreciation for the race, so I was left to flail silently in my cube while I watched the last two miles. It was like having to watch the Rose Bowl quietly - almost impossible. 

I wanted to jump up and shout at Meb to run when I kept seeing Chebet behind him. One of the camera angles made Chebet seem a lot closer than he actually was, but it still made me nervous. I do almost feel bad the top men get caught up with the "slower" elite women, I would freak out if I had people passing me that weren't actually in my race when it was that close!

I was thrilled when I watched Meb somehow power even harder once he hit the 1K to go mark. His joy at winning was infectious. I don't think I'll ever forget his face when it really sunk in that he had done it.


I can't even begin to imagine how hard he must have worked every single day for this moment, especially as an older athlete, often counted out despite his many (and recent) achievements. 

This is the first time in my life that an American has won Boston. International sports are pretty much the one time I trot out my patriotic horse, but I honestly didn't expect to feel this emotional about seeing a countryman break the tape. While my running career has been short, I think I've always sort of known that African runners will win and anything else is a complete fool's dream and there's a great bridge available for sale if you're interested.

Watching Meb's victory inspired me. In the back of my mind, I've always wanted to qualify for Boston, but unless the BAA wanted to give me a 90 minute grace period, that wasn't going to happen any time soon. I always joke when non-runners ask that the plan is to live until I'm 70 and not get slower. But today made me reconsider.

I have 15 weeks between Hatfield-McCoy and Monument...the Hanson's Marathon Method calls for an 18 week program, with the ability to tweak the first four or five weeks. I know I have lots of room for improvement. This training cycle has given me a better base and gotten me comfortable with pacing myself through much longer runs. It's unfortunate that I've been set back by two colds and an injury, but I'm going to persevere despite that.

I realize that running four marathons in 49 days isn't a typical training plan, but my goal (other than to finish and enjoy them) is to become more comfortable with the marathon distance and how I respond to it. I'm way underachieving based on my 10K PR, so I think with a different training method I could drop a lot of time (relatively) easily. I don't think a 3:34:59 is anywhere in my near future, but I will focus on getting close to a sub-4. I realize that's relatively arbitrary, but I feel like I would be mentally ready to approach qualifying for Boston if I can get in the neighborhood.

Maybe in a couple years I too will get the honor of wearing an unicorn jacket.
Because right now I'm a lot closer to this.

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